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No Alcohol, No Interlock?

On March 17, 2016, Senate Bill 1228 passed with 43 AYES, 13 NAYS and on Thursday, March 24, 2016, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed the bill into law.  The full text of the bill can be read at: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/52leg/2r/laws/0057.pdf.  The passage of this bill is a definite YAY for the criminal defense world and those who have been charged with a drug-related DUI, as the passage of this bill, known as Ignition Interlock Requirement; DUI; Drugs; takes the interlock requirement out of the hands of the legislature and puts it into the hands of the judge.

The bill removes the automatic requirement for individuals who have been convicted of a DUI or Aggravated DUI that DOES NOT involve “intoxicating liquor” to equip any vehicle they operate with a certified IID (ignition interlock device) and instead authorizes the court to determine whether it should be required.

The passage of SB 1228 also eliminates the requirement for the MVD to order the IID for a person convicted of a non-alcohol related DUI.  The MVD is no longer required to revoke a person’s license based on this type of DUI, either.

The Court (judge) is still permitted to order an IID for a person convicted of a drug-related DUI or Aggravated DUI; however, this requirement will no longer be mandatory.

There is no mention of this action being applied retroactively, so those who are currently driving around with an ignition interlock for a drug-related DUI will unfortunately have to keep blowing.

In a justice system that sees private industry increasingly profiting from the sentencing requirements of offenders under criminal law, the passage of this bill is a step in the right direction for reforming laws that are burdensome, costly, and unnecessary in the pursuit of justice for criminal defendants.  After all, what good is an IID going to do if someone is smoking marijuana and drives?  Or takes prescription oxycontin and drives?  The device can only detect alcohol, so if someone was not convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol, the requirement seems pointless and cumbersome.

If you are pending a drug-related DUI, do not rejoice too soon as the judge still may order the IID but at least is no longer required to do so!